Other than a McDonald's Filet-o-Fish ad, the below ad has been the only one to stop me in my tracks recently during regular DVR-free TV viewing. The New York City Department of Health has added another weapon to its anti-smoking arsenal. Joining Mr. Throat-hole and $9-packs of cigarettes: child abuse.
In the spot, a child is abandoned in a train station -- a metaphor (or is it an analogy?) for what you're doing to your wee ones if you smoke.
The spot is gripping and extremely realistic, leading some to call in complaints to the Department of Health. And this is leading to cries of outrage. Indeed, there was a segment on the Today show, in which Matt Lauer interviewed none other than Donny Deutsch (watch it below). And you know what? I agree with Donny. Who gives a rat's rear end if a few people are offended by a child crying? This is a damn good ad and it does exactly what it's supposed to do.
Where the issue arises -- for me, at any rate -- is whether or not that kid is acting. Donny kind of loses me around the 3:45 spot, though, when he says, yeah, maybe sometimes TV shows and movies make a kid cry for real, but that's OK if it saves 25,000 lives. That's the thing with big brothers and nanny-states: They don't care which peons get trampled on the way to their great society.
I'm finding it hard to believe that this kid was acting. (According to The New York Times City Blog, this ad is actually Australian -- and we all know how savage those Aussies can be!)
And speaking of fun but slightly crazy thought experiments, Maria Andreu of NJ.com wonders why it's perfectly fine to demonize smokers like this when we have to kid-glove people with other addictive disorders.
I ask you: how "for" you would be for an ad like this if, instead of a smoker, the "absent mother" was a chronic overeater shown having a cheeseburger while her little boy cried? Why is tormenting smokers more acceptable than pointing out facts to people engaging in other risky behaviors?Yeah, she went there. To be fair, though, drunks and dope-fiends are demonized in PSA spots as well!